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Is he Browned off?

india Updated: Jan 22, 2008 21:53 IST

Hindustan Times
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We appear to be in a bit of a brown study over the visit of the British prime minister Gordon Brown. The low-key Mr Brown and his even more quiet wife came bearing gifts in terms of huge bilateral aid for education and sports. He made all the right noises about terrorism in Pakistan, something that always goes down well here and India’s seat at the UN Security Council. Oh, and he was very gung-ho about the Indian economy, subtly equated India with China, not Pakistan as was the wont of visiting leaders before. His distinguished career was given shortshrift in our media and we are no wiser about his wife Sarah.

But even before the poor man could wind up his visit, we are back to hyperventilating about French president Nicholas Sarkozy and the ‘will he, won’t he’ bring along girlfriend Carla Bruni. He has asked for private time, we learn. Aha, say those in the know, this is to take the fetching Ms Bruni to the Taj. Mrs Brown made the rounds of slums and healthcare centres, but it hardly made for big news. The Sarkozy visit has already become a media circus with odious comparisons of the gifts he has given to the last missus and new love.

Will Sarko conduct any business other than gracing the Republic Day celebrations and squiring Ms Bruni around? We don’t know and do we really care? But as the French visit approaches, we can definitely look forward to more trivia about the twosome. No shades of grey here as Mr Brown quietly departs our shores.